People who experience migraines often suffer intense throbbing pain in one area of the head, which could lead to nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. There are about 36 million people in the United States over the age of 12 that are affected by migraines. This is more than 11 percent of the population and is greater than the number of people affected by asthma and diabetes combined. However the number of specialists certified by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties to diagnose and treat migraines remains small, with only 416 specialists in the United States.
A new study presented at the International Headache Contress determined which states had migraine specialists and which states did not. The states with the highest number of migraine specialists include New York, California, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. However, there are six states with no migraine specialists. The leader of the study stated that this was “a troubling picture” given that migraines are highly disabling. There is a need for more specialists to be trained and certified to meet the needs of the many people who suffer from this disorder.
People who do not receive the proper treatment for migraine headaches may overtime be more likely to struggle with chronic headaches or migraines. Another study of 4,600 people examined the occurrence of episodic migraines in the participating individuals. They were characterized has having migraines for 14 days or less per month. Close to half of these individuals received poor or very poor treatment for their migraines. As a result of this poor treatment they were more likely to sustain symptoms for chronic episodes in excess of 15 days per month. The researchers concluded that if migraines were treated quickly and treatment methods were offered shortly after a sought out care, patient outcomes and overall wellness improved.
This release of the study also showed the costs of migraines in the United States. The cost is more than $29 billion a year in direct medical expenses, including doctor visits and medications. There are also indirect expenses in the form of missed work and lost productivity.
Having enough specialized migraine doctors is important not only to individual patients who need proper care to minimize the impact of their migraines, but also for the overall cost of health care.
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